I was thinking about all the different genres and writing styles that existing in the literary universe. Even within the genre I am developing, fantasy, there is a wide range of styles such as:
Epic fantasy: where the plot and conflict effects consequences on a large or worldly scale.
Dark fantasy: where the world is more grim and your hero may be a less-than-heroic character.
Heroic, high fantasy, low fantasy, urban fantasy and many more.
In trying to classify my writing, which I ultimately deem as a Dark-Epic Fantasy, I found myself bombarded by thoughts and labels of what is truly – art. Like most people as easily distracted as myself, I drifted into how these labels apply elsewhere and how they matter at all anyway.
Strangely enough, I thought more so of how this applies in music. Let’s face it, there are countless artists out there in the music industry and more genres than I could pretend to understand. I was thinking about what music I listen to and where it would fall into this labeling.
My long and winded train of thought led me to realize that music had become much more of a background than that of an engaging activity. Sure, we have music on nearly constantly. We play the radio while driving, shopping for groceries, in the elevator, doing chores or working, etc. But that doesn’t mean we are really listening to it at all, does it?
Now music has been around since the dawn of our species in one way or another. So music itself is timeless.
That being said, there was a time when music was already ancient, but the phonograph was still young (in the 1800’s). Families would gather around it in the living room and intently listen to an album. That’s right, a family would gather around a music box and listen together. Not because there was nothing else to do, but because they enjoyed it and were appreciating the art that it created with the privilege of technology available to them. Might sound strange, but I think it means something.
When was the last time you sat back, closed your eyes, and let an album take you on an adventure? Could you do it if you tried – or would you be restless and need additional stimulation? Would you even enjoy the artist if you really listened to the lyrics?
The thought of it made me realize that perhaps the reason there are so many hits out of songs that lack any depth is because: we aren’t listening to it anyway.
Take that same passive-engagement principle and apply it to other aspects of life.
Do you listen to your partner, or are you waiting for your turn to speak?
Do you go to work and go through the motions, or do you try to excel and broaden the understanding of your trade?
I want to inspire you – no I want to invite you – even if it’s only for a day, to engage yourself.
Listen to the lyrics of any song you have on, and change it if you don’t like it.
To eat food that has a pleasant taste and not just what’s around when you’re hungry.
And here’s the big one: Don’t multitask, whether in conversation to a loved one, duties at work or play – and I’ll tell you why.
Anything that you are doing that only has part of your attention, isn’t getting the entirety of your effort.
So engage your partner in that conversation wholesomely, engage your mind in the soapy bubbles as you scrub the dishes, and engage yourself in the focus of every moment. When you do, I believe you’ll find taking out the garbage to be less of a chore and more therapeutic.